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  • Rick Joseph

Extraordinary Learning for All


Warren Woods Middle School is brimming with the kind of engaged teaching and learning that both left me breathless and filled my spirit. When I entered Todd Bloch’s science class I was immediately captivated by the high energy and dynamic learning environment. Students were so involved in hands-on, minds-on learning that I found myself yearning to sit right down and join them. The 6th graders were motivated by the chance to get messy as they learned about changing states of matter through mixing corn starch and water to make oobleck, the mythical substance of Dr. Seuss fame.

In 7th grade science class, students used their choice of media to depict mitosis in animal cells. The opportunity to access their preferred learning modality – whether text-based, visual or musical afforded kids the opportunity to represent content in exciting ways. Students showcased their design skills through comic book creation or their lyrical talents through rap.

As a career reading and writing teacher, I was utterly impressed by the students in a writing workshop who were taking turns sharing personal narrative pieces in their weekly author’s chair. These students were extraordinary in their passionate writing and dynamic storytelling. The fact that they all had significant learning differences made me realize that with effective, dedicated instruction, their voices can be heard as easily as those of students in a regular education setting. I was struck with the realization that everyone has stories to tell and that everyone’s voice matters. A highlight came when one of the students asked me to read his story aloud for him. It was one of the best parts of my entire day. I was humbled by the enthusiasm the students displayed as they listened intently. I left the room thunderstruck.

At Warren Woods Middle School I am confident that students are motivated, uplifted, and above all else, valued for who they are and what they bring to their learning environments each day.


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